One of three men arrested in Corpus Christi as part of what authorities call Operation Hidden Predator pleaded guilty Monday to one count of online solicitation of a minor.
According to acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, 55-year-old Darrell Freeze admitted to attempting to meet with two underage boys for the purpose of sex.
It was back in July when authorities arrested Freeze along with 41-year-old Spencer Salcedo and 52-year-old Jesse Hernandez, who were allegedly involving in similar but separate cases.
The arrests were part of Operation Hidden Predator, a joint operation by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Corpus Christi Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Nueces County District Attorney's Office.
Authorities said the men were communicating with a person they believed was the mother of two minor children ages 14 and 11. Police said each man allegedly expected to meet and engage in sexual conduct with the minors. They were arrested as they arrived at the designated meeting place.
In court Monday, Freeze admitted to sending messages indicating his intent to engage in sexual acts with the children, and authorities said he was also in possession of condoms and candy he had brought for the children.
Sentencing for Freeze has been scheduled for Feb. 28 before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. He faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and will remain in custody until the sentencing hearing.
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